September 2020 – Lisa Beutler & Anthony Sclafani

We eat because we need, because we want: find out why

On September 8, 2020, we opened our 2020-2021 season with a virtual conversation with Dr. Lisa Beutler and Dr. Anthony Sclafani. We will be posting the podcast and recordings soon!

Dr. Beutler is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a physician scientist aiming at how the gut and brain communicate with each other to maintain body weight. Dr. Beutler received her MD and PhD from the University of Washington, where she studied how input from NMDA receptors onto medium spiny neurons (a type of inhibitory cell in the basal ganglia) is critical for learning in Dr. Richard Palmiter’s laboratory. She then proceeded to specialize clinically in endocrinology and began studying how a subset of neurons in the hypothalamus (AgRP) neurons are involved in regulating hunger in Dr. Zachary Knight’s lab and is currently studying how obesity affects the ability of these neurons to detect certain nutrients.  

Dr. Sclafani is a Professor of Psychology at Brooklyn College at the City University of New York. He has had a truly distinguished career of over 50 years in studying the neurochemical circuits that govern learned taste preferences. He has served as the past-president of both the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior and the Obesity Society and has authored over 300 publications. Dr. Sclafani began his research into ingestive behavior in Dr. Pete Grossman’s laboratory where he developed a wire knife to dissect neural pathways involved in an obesity syndrome generated by damage to the hypothalamus that elicited overeating. From there he has pioneered studies that have helped to answer how specific features of food promote appetite and the brain reward systems that are activated from the consumption of palatable foods.